"Anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers knows that our great soldiers are hunting for them." He again said U.S. resolve would not be shaken and a stable democracy would be forged in Iraq "because the United States of America will not be intimidated by a bunch of thugs."
Fort Carson has sent 12,000 soldiers to Iraq and suffered large losses, including four soldiers killed in a Chinook helicopter shot down over Falluja Nov. 2.
"Every person who dies in the line of duty leaves a family which lives in sorrow and comrades who must go in without them," he said.
Bush uncharacteristically* singled out one victim, Staff Sgt. Daniel Bader, 28, of York, Neb., who died in the Chinook crash and left a wife, Tiffany, and a 14-month-old daughter.
The White House has said in the past the president cannot pick and choose which funerals to attend and to whom to pay tribute without potentially offending other families who do not receive presidential attention.
But Bush used the Bader death *to make a political point, quoting the words of the dead soldier's wife from a newspaper account.
"I'm going to wait until she is old enough to realize what has happened, and I will tell her exactly what her daddy did for her," Bush quoted the widow as saying of her daughter. "He died serving his country, so my little girl could grow up free."
In his speech, Bush didn't mention Elaine Johnson, whose son Darius Jennings was one of four Fort Carson soldiers on the Chinook helicopter that was shot down Nov. 2.
When Johnson was at the Fort Carson chapel a week ago for her son's memorial service, she wondered aloud why the president had visited South Carolina in the week of her son's funeral but had not bothered to attend or to send any message to her or her family.
"Evidently my son wasn't important enough to him dead for him to visit the family or call the family," she said then. "As long as my son was alive he was important, because he sent him over there to fight a war."
AN ARSEHOLE, A COMPLETE ARSEHOLE ... but an arsehole that comes up smelling of roses (roses fed by the blood and bone of others) to Johnny and Tony.